R. Skidelsky's Study of J. M. Keynes is Based on the Many Myths About Keynes Told to Him by Joan Robinson

32 Pages Posted: 4 Aug 2018

See all articles by Michael Emmett Brady

Michael Emmett Brady

California State University, Dominguez Hills

Date Written: July 15, 2018


Practically all of R. Skidelsky’s views on Keynes’s General Theory are a reflection of the many myths about Keynes that Joan Robinson spread. Basically, these myths are figments of her imagination. For instance, one such myth about Keynes was that uncertainty for Keynes meant that all decision making over time takes place under conditions of complete and total uncertainty and ignorance. Therefore, there are no stable economic functions so that there can never be any equilibriums or equilibrium analysis. This means that the use of mathematics and statistics in economics is worthless. Of course, nowhere in anything written by Keynes in his life time did he state that uncertainty meant what Joan Robinson said it meant. Once this Robinsonian myth is accepted, then it results in the acceptance of the dozens of other myths spread by the mathematically and economically illiterate Joan Robinson about Keynes, based on the mistaken belief that she worked with Keynes on the writing of the General Theory. Joan Robinson never worked with Keynes on the writing of the General Theory because she did not have the necessary training in basic mathematics and economics to understand what he was talking about. Her understanding of Keynes comes directly from what she was told Keynes meant by Austin Robinson and Richard Kahn, both of whom completely failed to recognize Keynes’s IS-LP(LM) model of chapters 15 and 21 and Keynes’s D-Z model of chapter 20. The result is a completely fictitious claim by Skidelsky that Keynes’s theory of the rate of interest was a purely monetary theory in which the marginal efficiency of capital and the investment multiplier played no role in the determination of the rate of interest. Keynes’s summary of his model and critique on pp.298-306 is a complete and straightforward rejection of Skidelsky’s ‘Robinsonian’ Keynes. Robinson’s inability to do even sixth grade level, Introduction to Algebra, math is displayed in the September-November, 1936 exchanges between Keynes and Robinson over his liquidity preference function and his IS-LP(LM) model in CWJMK, volume 14, pp.134-148. Keynes’s conclusion is that her writings on liquidity preference were “nonsense”. Robert Skidelsky has incorrectly based his work on Keynes on Joan Robinson.

Keywords: IS-LM,IS-LP(LM),J. Robinson,R. Kahn,Keynes,mathematical illiteracy.R.Skidelsky.marginalism,equilibrium approaches

JEL Classification: B10,B12,B14,B16,B20,B22

Suggested Citation

Brady, Michael Emmett, R. Skidelsky's Study of J. M. Keynes is Based on the Many Myths About Keynes Told to Him by Joan Robinson (July 15, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3214053 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3214053

Michael Emmett Brady (Contact Author)

California State University, Dominguez Hills ( email )

1000 E. Victoria Street, Carson, CA
Carson, CA 90747
United States

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